Recommendations on Proposed Prohibition of Asbestos and Asbestos Products Regulations

Over 40 organizations and individuals, including MiningWatch Canada, submitted comments and recommendations in response to the Proposed Prohibition of Asbestos and Asbestos Products Regulations and Proposed Amendment to the Export of Substances on the Export Control List Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), 1999.

Summary of Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Require Federal-Provincial-Territorial priority harmonization on end of life approach to asbestos and products containing asbestos (including in the built environment) to adopt stringent measures as minimal standards across Canada within a set timeline and with effective public engagement.

Recommendation 2: The Proposed Regulations should be amended to outline obligations to prevent presence of stockpiles of asbestos and products containing asbestos. 

Recommendation 3: Provide a definition for asbestos mining residue.

Recommendation 4: We oppose the exclusion of asbestos mining residues in mining activities. 

Recommendation 5: We oppose the exception given to provinces to authorize the use of asbestos mining residue for construction or landscaping.

Recommendation 6: “Incidentally present” level of asbestos should be defined to determine situations of non-compliance under the Proposed Regulations.

Recommendation 7: Government should require a systematic review on how to phase out use of asbestos for proposed exclusions to museum displays and laboratory research setting.

Recommendation 8: We do not support Section 8(1) of the Proposed Regulations permitting a 7 year exclusion for a chloro-alkali facility.

Recommendation 9: Require the chlor-alkali industry to comply with the Proposed Regulations by converting to non-asbestos technology no later than 2 years after the regulations enter into force.

Recommendation 10: Government should support the transition of this industry to non-asbestos technology to support affected workers and communities.

Recommendation 11: Canada’s asbestos strategy should establish criteria for eliminating the risk from asbestos mining residues for all mining activities. 

Recommendation 12: Canada’s asbestos strategy should prohibit future registration of asbestos in pest control products under the PCPA. 

Recommendation 13: Canada needs to demonstrate international leadership on this issue by banning all export of asbestos containing materials.

Recommendation 14: Develop an annual report on asbestos for public release and review.

Recommendation 15: Develop a model Asbestos Management Plan, based on best international practice. This model plan should be a basis for Federal- Provincial-Territorial discussions to harmonize workplace requirements to ensure asbestos exposure elimination.  It should include exposure limits based on zero tolerance levels of exposure (ALARA based).

Recommendation 16: The Canadian government should commit to continue work on asbestos and establish a National Asbestos Strategy with key elements listed above that are beyond the recent work to propose prohibition on asbestos, propose amendments to the ECLECLR, updating the national building code, and making amendments to the Canadian Labour Code.